2019 Fall Camp Preview: Receivers
On paper, it looks as if the 2018 Panther receiving corps had a disappointing season for
failing to put up gaudy numbers, but upon further investigation, the receiving corps featured a very spread-out attack. Headlined by All-Sun Belt talent Penny Hart, the Panthers aerial attack saw 5 different wide receivers catch at least 10 passes, and while only Hart eclipsed 500 yards,
5 receivers reached triple digits for yards on the season. While Hart failed to reach 1,000
receiving yards for the first time in his Georgia State career, he still led the team in receptions and receiving yards. Besides Hart, the Panthers received about 25% of their receiving production from Cornelius McCoy and Devin Gentry, who both caught at least 20 passes for 495 and 286 yards respectively.
Penny Hart’s early departure for the NFL is a tough pill for the Georgia State offense to
swallow, as he was the most dynamic playmaker on the team and possibly in the program’s short history. And Hart is not their only departure, as Diondre Champaigne – one of the taller
receivers on the 2018 team – announced he was transferring over the summer. Joining
Champaigne in the transfer portal was Tamir Jones, who caught 12 balls for 162 yards last season.
With the return of McCoy, Gentry, and Christian Owens, the Panthers receiver room
should not look terribly different from a year ago. These three should see the majority of snaps out wide for senior quarterback Dan Ellington to throw to. Also returning this season is redshirt freshman Sam Pinckney, who along with Owens is a bigger target for Ellington to utilize in the red zone. The Panthers have also been busy on the transfer trail, picking up graduate transfer Mechane Slade, who will be immediately eligible for the 2019 season. Slade comes by way of Memphis and caught 29 passes for 241 across three seasons for the Tigers.
With the speedy senior combination of Gentry and Slade, Owens and Pinckney offering
good size, another year of growth from McCoy and more consistent route-running from
Jonathan Ifedi, the Panthers should make up the difference left by the departing Hart. Kerryon
Richardson joins the WR room as a wild card after starting his collegiate career as a defensive
back, and offers an interesting explosive option if he can hone in on his offensive skill set.
Another interesting name is Terrence Dixon, a former walk-on who has earned a scholarship for the 2019 season. You only get 85 scholarships to field an FBS team, so they don’t get handed out willy-nilly – if he’s on scholarship, Coach Elliott will expect him to be ready to contribute.
While losing Penny Hart certainly stings, the Panther receivers should have no problem replacing him and improving on their balanced attack from the year prior.